On a research trip to a museum, I came across this fascinating little home appliance. It’s called a meat juice press. Landers, Frary, & Clark made this particular one. Columbia was the brand name.
So, what’s a meat juice press and what was it used for? In the late 1800s, this cast iron press would extract all the juice from a cooked piece of meat, such as beef, mutton, turkey, etc. The juice was extracted by placing the meat in the cup (silver looking piece) and then turning the crank. Some sources say they designed it for a 2 oz. piece of meat.
Most often, the juice was prepared for the ill or those who weren’t able to chew, including sickly infants. Many people of the era believed that the concentrated beef juice held healing or medicinal powers. It tasted better than some alternatives of the time, like beef tea.
I was pretty excited by this find—just thinking that the characters in my Prescott Pioneers Series may have owned one, though some sources show the earliest usage around 1870.